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Four ways Man Utd can line up without Casemiro against Arsenal

Daniel Marland

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Four ways Man Utd can line up without Casemiro against Arsenal

To some Manchester United fans, Casemiro's yellow card late in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace was more heartbreaking than Michael Olise's stunning free-kick.

The 30-year-old has established himself as United's most important player since arriving from Real Madrid last summer. Casemiro has started 12 Premier League games for United, with his only loss coming away to Aston Villa in November.

It's safe to say he's a vital part of the club's return to form under Erik ten Hag. With the games coming thick and fast over the winter, United supporters anxiously watched the Brazil international trot out at Selhurst Park.

Casemiro started the contest on four yellow cards, knowing one more would see him suspended for Sunday's clash with league leaders Arsenal. It looked like he'd get through it in one piece.

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With 10 minutes to go, Casemiro hacked Wilfried Zaha down as he darted through United's defence. Referee Robert Jones immediately reached into his pocket and brandished a yellow, confirming Casemiro will play no part at the Emirates Stadium.

The big question on everyone's mind now is what will United do against an in-form Arsenal, who they beat 3-1 at Old Trafford back in September. Well, we've decided to have a look at all possible options for Ten Hag.

Fred next to Christian Eriksen in midfield, Garnacho out wide

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Is Fred the key to stopping Martin Odegaard? The Gunners captain is in exceptional form, scoring his eighth goal of the season against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Fred shadowed Kevin De Bruyne in the Manchester derby five days ago, a similar role could be on the cards. A divisive player since Jose Mourinho opted to splash £50 million on him in 2018, Fred's managed to make himself useful to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ralf Rangnick and now Ten Hag.

He'd allow Bruno Fernandes to continue strutting his stuff further up the pitch. Fernandes' goal against Palace was the first time he's scored in back-to-back games for over a year.

Marcus Rashford is United's best goal threat so playing him through the middle makes the most sense. Teenage sensation Alejandro Garnacho looked lively, coming on as a substitute against Palace. Rewarding him with a start may motivate him.

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Image Credit: SPORTbible
Image Credit: SPORTbible

Scott McTominay next to Christian Eriksen, Wout Weghorst up front

Scott McTominay's role under Erik ten Hag appears to have evolved this year. Used as a defensive midfielder previously due to his height, the Scotland international now bombs forward more often than not.

He scored the winner late on in Europa League victory over Omonia Nicosia and got on the scoresheet against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup. It'd be a bold move from Ten Hag, given the lack of protection it'll give Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.

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Wout Weghorst made his debut for the club against Palace, dragging defenders away to help Fernandes open the scoring. A professional, if quiet, return to England. He could be a valuable asset with more game time under his belt.

Image Credit: SPORTbible
Image Credit: SPORTbible

Scott McTominay, Fred and Christian Eriksen in midfield, Bruno Fernandes out wide

'McFred' is a phrase that everyone is familiar with. McTominay and Fred was Solskjaer's preferred partnership, whether that was down to him rating them or a lack of options.

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What that would do is give Eriksen license to play behind Weghorst in attack. Fernandes would then be shifted out wide as he was against City. It relegates Antony to the bench but the 22-year-old is yet to fully settle into English football.

With Fernandes out wide, United do lose pace and the ability to run at Oleksandr Zinchenko. What it could do is help in possession.

Image Credit: SPORTbible
Image Credit: SPORTbible

Lisandro Martinez in midfield, Luke Shaw at centre-back, Tyrell Malacia at left-back

Yes, it's wild. Yes, it probably wouldn't work. Yes, we'd love to see it. Martinez made his first start since returning from World Cup glory against Palace and managed to catch a nasty elbow to the head.

What can't be questioned is his commitment to the team. It's why he'll give it his all if tasked with playing in his old midfield position. Luke Shaw's recent showings as a centre-back prove he can partner Raphael Varane with no trouble at all.

Tyrell Malacia started against City and locked Riyad Mahrez down with ease. A duel with Bukayo Saka would be fascinating to watch.

Let's be honest, we all want to see Martinez vs Granit Xhaka as well. Pure box-office entertainment. We've thrown Anthony Martial in up front on the off chance he's fit.

Image Credit: SPORTbible
Image Credit: SPORTbible

How should Manchester United line up against Arsenal this weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: Footy Renders

Topics: Arsenal, Casemiro, Manchester United, Premier League, Spotlight

Daniel Marland
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